Thursday, April 7, 2016

Kitchen Chronicles: Part One. The Pantry.

I am somewhat fascinated with hearing about how people eat, about the patterns and rituals and habits of their diets.

I love pictures of people's kitchens and pantries.  I love food descriptions in novels. When I buy a cook book, I'm usually most interested in the opening chapters that include lists of things to stock, basic principles to uphold. I frequently ask my friends about what meals they make over and over again. I sneak peeks into strangers's grocery carts when I'm shopping.

While I appreciate a good recipe or a beautiful food picture, I am far more interested in the bigger picture. What is your food philosophy?

In that vein, I've decided to share how we eat. Cooking and food preparation is a big part of my day. It's takes up a huge part of my time, head space, and budget.

For the first part of this series, I thought I would share my top pantry essentials. Over the past year, I've tried to make our diet increasingly more seasonal and local. We have a local foods market nearby, which I love.  If you are local and haven't gone there, you definitely need to. Chesapeake's Bounty is my new favorite thing about North Beach. However, there are some things not produced in my bioregion that I still very much enjoy and like to include in my diet. I get most of them at Trader Joe's, which is kind of a hike but the price is right, and I only have to go up there once a month or so.

If I had to pick just dry goods, these would be them:

  1. Olive oil. Kind of obvious.
  2. Bragg Liquid Aminos. My friend Katie made a salad a few weeks ago with spinach, oranges, avocados and a homemade salad dressing that was heavy on the Bragg Aminos. I have remade it so many times since then that I think my whole family is sick of it. I, however, am not.
  3. Crystal Hot Sauce. On eggs with avacados, it is pretty much my favorite breakfast. And it doesn't have a load of creepy ingredients.
  4. Apple cider vinegar. Sometimes I buy Bragg. Sometimes I buy stuff I can get at Chesapeake's Bounty. I think I have both in my pantry right now.
  5. Bulk white rice.  I don't love rice, but everyone else does and it's easy to keep around and helps round out a meal.
  6. Oatmeal. The kids rotate between oatmeal and eggs for breakfast every morning.
  7. Nuts. Essential for car trips. 
  8. Coconut oil. It's the new Windex.
  9. Canned salmon. My mom's salmon cakes are one of my favorite dinners ,and I love eating leftovers cold the next day for breakfast. Having it in the pantry is great for nights I forget to take something from the freezer to dethaw.*
  10.  Maple syrup. (not pictured) For coffee and oatmeal and apple slices for dessert. 
Runers-up: Tomate paste, diced tomatoes, dried beans, and almond butter.

*I did not realize that dethaw was not a word until writing this, but it has been in my lexicon for so long that I can't bear to remove it now. 


  1. I love this post and I think this way too. How does it all come together, for others? Here is my short list: olive oil, white rice, brown rice, lentils, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, canned black beans, cumin, apple cider vinegar, tamari, brown sugar and salt. I also try to keep nutritional yeast on hand for flavoring, and I have fast rising yeast for pizza dough and flat bread. Somehow I still have to make a trip to the grocery store almost every day.

  2. love this post! I too am much more interested in peoples' food philosophies than in individual recipes pulled from wherever. I like to know what they eat, day in and day out. Occasionally I do a post called "a week in suppers" where I just list what we ate for supper each evening. Very telling!

    Not sure I could list only 10 pantry staples - I keep a very deep pantry because I like to be efficient. I buy fresh food at the market 2 blocks away 1-2 times a week, but otherwise, I only do nonperishable shopping 1-2x/month.

  3. Good sharing, for healthy purpose, apple cider vinegar (ACV) helps to boost metabolism, blocks the body’s storage of dietary fat plus breaks down and dissolves existing body fat. A study at Australia’s University of Sydney in which subjects who consumed two tablespoon of ACV daily experienced fewer surges and crashes in blood sugar levels. Read more at:

  4. my choices would be very similar. we eat a lot of black beans, and i have become a huge fan of sauerkraut.